5/31/2014

Bend


You have bent the bow.
You have pulled the arrow back
to your eye.
You aim well, warrior, you aim
 
for perfection.
Now you will pierce the heart

of the Lord of blue skies.
You will bring down God.
But first, become what fills the bow.
Become the womb of your intention,
the hollow of the path you have drawn
into a sphere.
Become the taught curve
of possibility, the circled silence
of death
where all is born with no aim
or target.
Rest here,
where the victory
is already won
and the arrow releases itself.

5/30/2014

One World Family


The etymology of the word 'bigot' is unknown. Its first recorded use is French, as a term for Normans. 'Bigot' is now one of those inflated terms we use without reflection. To judge someone because they are poor, black, female, gay or Native is bigoted, but no more bigoted than judging someone because they are prosperous, white, male, straight or Western. Each of us might well ask how deeply our identity depends on resentment of the "other," and the other's tribe. To dissolve this sense of separateness, this otherness, is the only true non-violence. The aristocrats of the coming age will be those who welcome each individual as unique, and not as the icon of a general category. Our great calling is simply to realize who we are: one world family.

5/28/2014

Selection

 "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." ~Mark Twain

As the brain evolves, nature selects forgetfulness.
Those of us born too stupid to remember much

about the past, those of us who mutate toward 
the irrepressible song of the present moment,

like witless thrushes anciently feathered
for a dance, survive, the chosen, favored

by love too vast for any plan, trilling to the sky that
random unremembered melody of the first day....

                  

The Swainson's Thrush has finally returned from exile to the Church of My Back Yard,
where it sings all day and into the night. I am so grateful for this miracle. Did you know
that birds are one of evolution's oldest direct lineages on earth, the creatures directly
related to the dinosaurs? Those who imagine that the theory of evolution and belief
in God are antithetical should wake up to this sound and realize that the process of natural
selection, and God's supreme spontaneous all-unknowing Attention Deficit Divine-order,
are one and the same.

5/25/2014

*




Though we look to the past and the future for the solution to our problems, the truth is we cannot feel anything in the past or the future. This moment is the one place where we actually Feel. Presence is the only Way to Love.

5/24/2014

Seed


It's true, I've committed countless sins.
They are fireflies over a meadow in the sunrise,
they are tea candles on a porch at noon,
milkweed on wind over the sea.
Here's the secret:
God has no interest in our transgressions.
Not that I become a saint, or even good,
but that the heart is an empty sky
filled with an amazement
whose dawn outshines all form
as honey overflows the comb.
A certain breath blows seeds away.
Nothing takes root but the Master's love.
If you understand this, you will fall down
and sing to the earth's smallest creatures,
"Walk on me!"

Speak Sternly



Speak sternly to your foe
as you would speak to the Master
about the condition of your heart.

Bold and quiet as a blue flame
whisper awfully, I know
my pain is bright in your body.


We ignited one another.
The burning emptiness of your belly 
is my sorrow.
 

What can we do?
Sense, touch, cherish our affliction
without naming it:
 

this turns darkness into light.
To merely blame is an escape
from mutual causation.
 

Were we not born
through the same exquisite wound
where we circled the darkness and swam
 

as one pang in our Mother?
Tears are her gift.
It's trying to make them go away
 

that hurts us.



Enemies



We think that 'enemies' have nothing in common. Actually 'enemies' are intimately joined at the heart. The fear and anger that drive my enemy to be against me, and the fear and anger that drive me to be against my enemy, are exactly the same energy, arising from exactly the same place. 

Breathing into that pain in myself, I breathe into that pain in my enemy. Understanding that pain in myself, I understand that pain in my enemy. Healing that pain in myself, I heal that pain in my enemy. Then we can actually sit down and talk to each other about our children. That is what Jesus meant when he said, 'Love your enemy.' It is not passivity. It is a very dynamic process.

The opposite of this healing process is anger. Anger is a poison that paralyzes the heart. As the paralysis sets it, it causes foot stomping, fist raising, shouting, and even violence. Some people mistake this for 'action.'

5/22/2014

Hug the World


It's remarkable to me that so many people need a scape goat to explain the inconvenience and messiness of the world.

For some, the scapegoat is "capitalism," for others "big government." For some its "religion" and for others it's not having the "true" religion. Some blame "the rich" and some even blame "the poor." Some blame the Left and some blame the Tea Party. Of course none of these abstractions actually exist, because there are only people, being people.

So why is it necessary to blame somebody? Maybe the world seems so unjust because we're trapped in our mental image of how it "should" be. We don't like what it actually IS: the raw chaos, the loose strings, the unresolved issues. But in fact this is the nature of the world. The sloppy state of things is the infinite totality of Being expressing itself this moment. It is utterly perfect: otherwise, it would be different. Yet no tidy little ideology of our finite intellect can possibly grasp the overwhelming quiddity and suchness of a world where everybody is doing the best they can, and nobody really knows WTF is going on.

Trying to fix the world by blaming someone is the magical thinking of an angry child. Liberation is realizing that what is, is, and no one is to blame.

The real problem is my own heart. My heart hasn't grown quite big enough to drop the blame and hug the world, the whole damned world, right now, without fixing anything. One thing I do know. When I am ready to open my heart, any good I will ever do, any progress I will ever make, will emerge from that big sloppy blameless hug.

Culture of Go

Have you ever noticed that our culture is rooted in the notion that we are going somewhere? How do we know we're going somewhere? Have we ever gotten there? When we arrive, aren't we still right here?

The future is a desperate illusion sustained through notions like "heaven," "progress" and "self-improvement," that help us avoid response-ability to the present moment. The only "progress" that means anything to me is our response to what actually Is.

This Now, with all its messiness and uncertainty, its unresolved threads of cause and effect, is our only possible destination. The inescapability of the present moment is not bondage, but freedom, because here is the only place where we actually feel anything.

Anxiety and anticipation about plans or goals for the future numb us to the ineluctable sanctity of what is. But fully breathing Presence, we dissolve the future into pure alertness, releasing anxiety as free energy that can be used right here with a fearless heart.

Liberation is certainty that there is nowhere else to go. In this here and now we can feel again, feel every atom, because no past or future distracts our attention.

Many will ask, "Then who will bring about human progress, save the environment, end war, promote economic justice?" The answer is: we will, when we abandon the numbness of the future. In the numbness that is our lack of Presence, we unwittingly pollute the earth, exploit the poor, and sustain institutions of violence.

But one who is awake, with true sentience, cannot possibly pollute this breath of air, the heirloom soil in this footprint, this drop of thirst-quenching rain, for she feels each gentle step on earth as an entrance to her ancestral home. One who is awake does not exploit the poor or cling to extraneous wealth. He chooses a simple life for the sake of joy, a life of freely shared abundance. No one needs more than enough when plain necessities are tasted, right down to the marrow, as life-giving sacraments. Nor does an awakened one do violence - to a human, an animal, or the planet. Response-ability to the present moment is the kingdom of God on earth. Here we can love our neighbor as our self, simply because we sense the other as our own body.

In the kingdom of the present moment, we don't need gods or heroes, we just need human beings who are awake.

5/20/2014

Dark


I love blackness. O 3 a.m.! O womb, O voluptuous ink of poems, O Virgin of Montserrat, the blessed symmetry of zero, quantum vacuum gushing particles of night, oh fountain and fecundity of nothing, without your one eternal uncreated No this mad and multitudinous dance of yes could never be born, O Light is not enough, I love the Dark!

5/19/2014

Morning Glory

Stories are all about the past and future. There is no story of the present moment. But we are so romantically attached to our stories, especially our "sacred" stories, we even kill and start wars to defend our story from the story of another tribe or nation. Peace is the end of stories...
 
The morning glory opens at dawn, without a story, then it's gone. To see it truly, the mind must burn up the past and future in the fire of deep listening, in a stillness and a silence that doesn't need to hear a story. Presence has no beginning or end.

 

5/18/2014

Already

We never quite grasp that it's the Self who awakens, not the world. Upon "enlightenment," we expect to see everything turn to sugar, with a halo around it. But the ordinary doesn't become extraordinary through any change in form. The ordinary becomes extraordinary by virtue of the formless Self, who awakens and perceives its heart in all. Then truth dawns: the ordinary is already a miracle. Whose innocence do you see in this newborn fawn, if not your own? How else could you recognize it?

5/17/2014

Desire


The ancient problem of Desire: Should I control it, suppress it, renounce it? Should I pretend to be a monk? (Lots of monks are just pretending.) Or should I give in to my addictions? (Then I get to call myself a "victim.") How about "moderation?" (Good luck with that.)

No one has ever succeeded in moderation without becoming a bore. Most of us just oscillate between repression and binge. Desire cannot be controlled in any way, for Desire is an uncompromising and ruthless Goddess. She will only leave you alone when you allow her to burn you to ashes.


Desire is a sacred dancer who will not be disciplined. The only sin is to suppress her. She is a naked flame of burning beauty. When her dance is done, She dissolves into immaculate darkness. But She is in control of this dance, not you.

The only way to handle her is not to handle her at all, but honor her, and bow down.

Instead of regarding Desire as a problem, we can welcome her as the divine guest in our bone marrow, in our hips and belly, in our solar plexus and heart.
Welcome her into the throat and She becomes a song, rich with sorrow and exultation. Welcome her as anger into the brow, then touch the forehead to the earth. Allowing boundless space for her fierceness softens arrows into petals.

Our only hope is hopeless surrender. Bow down until you become the stillness in which She dances. Then desire moves through you untouched.

Only what is empty can contain her. Space does not burn. Space remains free. This space is Shiva, ever welcoming the flame of Shakti. Desire is not obstacle, but energy. She is divinity at play. Just let her dance, and witness the beauty.  So'ham.

5/16/2014

Initiation




O my body, O my soul, never say that this lifetime was not the best of lives! Of 10 thousand dwelling in the silence of a jewel, 10 thousand as a rose, of 10 thousand on the feathered wing, 10 thousand in the fin and gill, of 10 thousand anointed and garlanded by fur, and 10 thousand more in the House of Adam, this life alone is the one for receiving the whisper of the Master's breath, the inestimable sweetness of Initiation.

As an evening breeze chooses the pine, as a moonbeam chooses one trillium among ferns for her silent caress, as ancient yearning chooses a mother's womb, so you chose this life. Not through merit, surely, not through merit but delight, you chose to be chosen now. Surrender and be danced!

How Lovely


How lovely earth must have been before the appearance of the human being. Maybe God should have stopped while She was ahead, and skipped that final piece of work. But then, who would be aware of how lovely it all was? Who would offer it all back to Creator in a breath of gratitude?

So after creating the other species that do just about everything better than we do, God created one whose work was simply gratitude: to offer each scent of mint, sigh of evening pine, flash of eagles at sunrise, dew on a violet, gaze of a friend, back to Creator in an empty grail of pure Awareness.

Earth's healing does not begin with political struggle, redistribution of wealth, green technology, or even a peace vigil. These are effects, not causes. Earth's healing begins inside, silently, gently, as a return to Wonder.

Seva


We usually equate 'service' with feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, giving alms to the poor. But the hunger and poverty of the soul is deep today, and must also be fed. As much as humans need bread, water and shelter, we need the opening of the heart and the expansion of awareness.

Nourished merely by physical bread and water, without the infusion of spiritual energy, humans survive for another day, but they do not evolve. Merely to eat, drink, work and sleep without evolving, is to be trapped in endless karmic circles of wealth and poverty, war and peace, health and sickness. Only awakening the spiritual energy can turn this circle of karma into a spiral of evolution. We are called not to endless rounds of mere sensory existence, but to an upward-spiraling release in divine love. We live in a vortex of transformation, not a circle of repetition.

Some serve humanity by offering food and shelter to the poor; some serve by offering inner alms to awaken awareness and expand the heart - gifts of meditation, healing breath, and yoga practice. To feed the hungry is profound and beautiful service. To teach meditation is also profound and beautiful service. Let us serve humanity on all levels, for 'man cannot live by bread alone' ~Deuteronomy 8:3.


Detail: The Gathering of Manna from Heaven, Bernardino Luini, c 1520

5/12/2014

Walk


Spring evening. Listen to the news. Turn off the news and listen to meditation music. Turn off the music and listen to a Guru video. Turn off the video. Listen to a robin, a sunset thrush in the alder, the silence between the notes, the waves. The basic sanity of nature is always here. No need to search. Turn off everything. Now take a barefoot step in the warm sand. Sink into what Is.  

*Photo: my little girls and me at the Jersey Shore in 1988

5/11/2014

Thank You, Mother


Thank you, Mother, for teaching me to talk to animals: cows, pheasants, deer, and stray dogs. Thank you for inspiring me to cook with my imagination instead of a recipe. Thank you for teaching me that work can be play, and working hard all day growing uselessly beautiful flowers is worth the labor.  Thank you for teaching me their names. The first time I heard "forget-me-nots" and "snow-drops," I couldn't believe we humans were allowed to invent such names! I learned that words could flower. Thank you for teaching me that the Oxford Book of English Verse is as sacred as the Book of Common Prayer, though that too is a lovely poem. Thank you for noticing the beauty of the rhododendron and the mockingbird: for teaching me that this anonymous sacrament of wonder might be the most important work we do all day. Thank you, Nana. We love you forever.

5/09/2014

From Gaia

"Now I empower you to create your own shamanic rituals, drawing on the Shakti of your bio-region, the special rhythm of your longitude and latitude, listening to song-lines that flow through this rock precisely, this tree, this bend in the stream.

"Find the divine particulars. Take up local berries, branches and pebbles to heal one another. Invent the dance.

"Do not imitate another's tribe - find yours. Do not await the Second Coming - You are already here. Do not depend so much on the Guru's form - his name is your heartbeat. Do not gaze upward, waiting for the Spirit to descend - She is your next breath.

"In your garden, the smallest flower is filled with my grace. Use it."
~Gaia                                      

The End of Authority

Compassion dissolves authority. As a tropical virus cannot survive in a cool alpine stream, so the very concept of 'authority' vanishes in the breath of compassion.

5/08/2014

Dharma


It is better to perform one's own duty, even if insignificant, than the duty of another, however grand!" ~Bhagavad Gita

Performing the duty that follows from one’s own nature is freedom. My 'Dharma' is whatever the universe needs me to do in order to be whole.The sign of doing my Dharma is that, even while working very hard, stillness permeates action, silence suffuses words, and a seamless continuum of compassion unifies the mind, the breath and the body - just as water pervades waves, and sap pervades the petals of a flower. The Dharma of one is to be a soldier, of another to be a monk, of another to own a business, of another to serve the homeless, of another to teach children, yet another is a farmer, and another a carpenter. Their work is equally pure when performed as an offering in harmony with the divine will, to serve the earth and to defend the innocent. If I judge my Dharma superior and yours inferior, or my Dharma inferior and yours superior, this is a clear sign that I have not found my Dharma. To manifest a peaceful and fruitful planet, we don't need to criticize the actions of others: we simply need each to find and perform our own Dharma, free of judgment.

5/06/2014

Love


"Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world, the agent of universal synthesis." ~Teilhard de Chardin

"Love, and do what you like." ~Saint Augustine

We humans have such a problem with Love because we insist on making it a commandment. But Love is not a law. Free from all authority, Love is
never imposed from by the mind, from above. Free of moral compunction, Love doesn't need to save the world: the world is already drenched in love, saved by every sunrise, blessed by every sunset. We simply need to wake up and taste the energy that Is, because Love already permeates every particle of being.

Love is the strong force binding our nuclei, the electricity weaving our molecules. Love percolates out of our atoms, simmering in our bone marrow, steaming through the forest of this sacred body. Love is our juice, the very flavor of our flesh. We best learn love from animals, not angels. Animals don't turn love into metaphysics. Animals open their hearts, and get their bellies rubbed.

Love is not your practice but your scent. No need to 'do' love or 'make' love, just allow love to flower. You are the embodiment of pure love, and through the unified field of love, your body co-extends throughout creation.
Just by being here, you engage in erotic union with the stars. You share exquisite intimacy with each tingling fiber of the earth. You are the ecstasy of every photon. You are the spiral dance of Shakti and Shiva, the perfect entanglement of energy and consciousness. At this very moment, you are completely in Love. Allow the grace of Love to bubble up through your fur.

Rest in the stream of love. "Resting" may sound passive, but it is deeply creative. For when we rest in the stream of love that wells up from within, we repose in dynamic energy. The energy flows from the void at the center of each proton, animating the cells of our body, sending vibrant rays of love into the stars. Be the fountain of love that joins the earth and sky. Your loving rest cannot but overflow into spontaneous acts of beauty.

This moment, rest each cell of your body, each atom of your flesh, in the stream of love. All that is needed is a gentle breath of attention, like a feather touching a bubble in a moonbeam. Then step out into the world and do whatever you like.

5/05/2014

Dance



Crucial to our health is not how well we dance, but whether we dance at all. Dance in your kitchen while you scramble the eggs. Dance while you take your dog out to pee at 3 AM. Dance barefoot in the rain through fields of wild poppy and alfalfa. God respects work. God admires public service. But God loves the silliness that dances for no reason.

5/04/2014

Furry


I am not a liberal, a conservative, or a progressive. What am I? Just an ordinary ape, trying to remember the ancient harmony. O blessed furry ones, thank you, I'm sorry, forgive me, I love you.

I am not a progressive because I don't believe in "progress." The world may have been exquisitely perfect millions of years ago. Why do we assume we have made it any better?

I am not a liberal because all that is really liberated is awareness, which has nothing to do with politics.

I am not a conservative because energy is conserved no matter what we do with it. We know this through the most basic law of thermodynamics. Abundance happens when we share our energy, letting it flow through natural channels. When we block this energy and try to "conserve" it, we create separation and lack.

O blessed furry ones, thank you, I'm sorry, forgive me, I love you. 

5/01/2014

Beltane & and Sexual Balance



At the very moment in history when the Great Mother resurges through the earth, balancing civilization's masculine and feminine energies, lifting undaunted women of power to lead us into a new age, a considerable show of male insecurity also rises as a counter-force which, in the end, will only make Her stronger, because it is a manifestation of weakness.

In Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and wherever Muslim fundamentalism takes root, cowardly men, scared of their own sexuality and insecure about their own mental powers, insist on the genital mutilation of girls, and prohibit the education of women. I call upon my Muslim-American friends to speak out strongly against these spineless fundamentalists.

Meanwhile, throughout the United State, Christian fundamentalists and right-wing politicians attempt to pass laws restricting women's rights and choices, threatening female health, and attacking the female body, even as they demand 'submission' of women in their churches. American men, especially Christian men, must speak truth to power wherever these cowardly misogynists take over houses of government.

And in secular American culture, in our military and on our college campuses, we have an epidemic of sexual violence against women (more often than not fueled by alcohol) which has nothing to do with religion: it is yet another manifestation of male insecurity, of men who feel their dominance shrinking away in the face of WomanPower and EarthWisdom.

It is time for American males to be truly masculine, not macho; truly men, not testosterone-laden, adolescent fraternity brats. It is time to be prophets of peace, not slaves to the culture of war. Time for us to stand up against the misogynists and quietly say, "Your time is over."

All glory to the Great Mother and the Green Man at the Feast of Beltane, when male and female energies reach their joyful balance.

What Does 'Transcending' Mean?


"Omnipresent pure consciousness is known as the soul when it experiences its own being." 
~Yoga Vashista

To transcend the mind does not mean to suppress it, or control it, or annihilate the ego. To transcend the mind does not mean engaging in any of the neurotic inner conflict that monks and renunciates have handed down to us for centuries in the name of "spiritual practice."

To transcend means gracefully relinquishing every mechanism of control, to become the scintillating, boundless, clear space in which mind arises and dissolves. Thinking is not the perceiver, but the object of perception. Thinking is just a tool, like any other thing we might pick up to use, and lay down again when we finish using it. We 'have' mind, but our mind is not who we 'are.' Mind is not our Being. Our Being the expanse of pure consciousness. You are the fresh sparkling stream of awareness, in which the mind and all its thoughts are just tumbling pebbles.

Dearest Humanity


"Dearest humanity, thousands of years ago, as you made your evolutionary descent into flesh, for Self-awareness through individuation, We told you clearly that the secret of your path would be to rest the mind in the heart.

"We gave you the gift of the intellect to support the intuition of your heart, not to operate independently from it.

"We told you that this would be your constant choice: the path would be painful, confusing, and violent if you dismembered your mind from your heart-center. But the path would be joyous and graceful if you consulted תפארת Tiferet, the Beauty in your heart, with every breath.
 
"We told you that you could make your way a nightmare or a wondrous awakening. Guided by the heart, each step may be lit by a candle of Presence, glowing not from heaven above, but from within the center of your sacred body, spilling light upon the earth, creating gardens in every footprint through the wilderness.

"O Humanity, you have dislocated your brain from your chest! You have thrown away our message and made your life so needlessly difficult! Through the mind's confusion, you have turned the sacred Earth, this permaculture of organic resonance, into a chaos of urban injustice that we, the Givers, no longer recognize as our creation.

"And instead of bequeathing your children the Great Simplicity, you insist on teaching them complexities invented by your uprooted intellect
, super-imposed on the grace of the world, compounding problem upon problem. You call this education! But you fail to teach your children the one thing needed: how to repose in the temple of the heart, infallibly guided by the breath of Love.

"We אֱלֹהִים the Elohim, sent you on your journey so that you could return as We Are, each a uniquely Self-aware holographic image of All. We gave your three talismans for this journey of descent and return, more powerful than any mythic sword or shield, wish-granting jewel or magician's wand. We gave you the Heart, the Breath, and the Present Moment.

"But you sold them in exchange for trinkets of wealth, power, and intellectual theory. And if you cannot use these gentle intimate talismans to awaken, then you must awaken through catastrophe. For this is the law of evolution. Nevertheless, dear Friend, don't worry. There is still time, because it is still Now. 


"Return to the Heart. תְּשׁוּבָה T'Shuvah!"